The Impact of Data Breaches on the Healthcare Industry

How do cyber security breaches affect the healthcare industry as a whole?

While the increased use of technology in the healthcare sector has helped to improve clinical outcomes and the delivery and administration of care, this technological revolution also introduces new risks to those in the healthcare industry.  Because it serves as a valuable source of personal information, healthcare is a major target for cyber crime and data breach.  To make matters worse, the healthcare industry has traditionally employed very lax cyber security measures, making it easy for hackers to gain access to the wealth of digital knowledge it stores.  With concern about online safety growing, here’s a look at how cyber security breaches affect the healthcare industry as a whole.

According to a study published in the American Journal of Managed Care, hospital data breaches accounted for approximately 30% of major security incidents recorded from 2009 and 2016.  Additionally, the study also revealed that hospital breaches impacted more individuals than any other cyber security attacks.

While news of a data breach always damages a business’s reputation, the impact on healthcare providers is always more extreme.  Because patients have no choice but to trust medical professionals and make themselves vulnerable in order to receive treatment, violation of this trust draws intense negative reaction.  Healthcare providers who are victims of data breach not only suffer ruined reputations, but they also face major (and hugely expensive) lawsuits from the patients affected by the breach.

In an attempt to ensure that healthcare providers are taking the necessary steps to protect their patients’ sensitive information, HIPPA set new regulations that required healthcare providers to identify potential security weaknesses and make the necessary system upgrades to safeguard private data.  Unfortunately, few healthcare organizations have actually complied with the standards laid out in the 2003 HIPPA Privacy Rule.  Currently, the Office of Civil Rights is aggressively seeking out and fining the organizations who are found in violation of HIPPA.  During OCR audits, healthcare organizations are checked for front and back-office compliance, log-in monitoring, malware protection, data-critical analysis, and so on.

This is how cyber security breaches affect the healthcare industry as a whole.  Want to protect your healthcare organization from all of the security risks that it faces?  If so, then contact the experts at CIA Insurance and Risk Management for assistance today.

Post written by SOPHIA NAJJAR Vice President | Commercial Risk Management (CRM)

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